Tarte’s racist shade range controversy.


Earlier this year, Tarte Cosmetics released their highly anticipated Shape Tape Foundation. However, after the  15 shades were released, it became clear that Tarte could did not care about their darker skinned customers. The shade ranges were appalling, featuring only four or five shades for people of color, compared to around 11 or 12 for lighter skinned customers. Following the release of the shade ranges, many online fans expressed their disappointment in Tarte’s lack of consideration.

“The product is biased towards only white people or people with lighter skin tones,” Oluchi Nwankwo, a junior, remarked. “Making people of color feel left out when buying makeup and that their only target is white people when it comes to selling their product when that simply isn’t the truth.”

Tarte responded to this controversy by saying that there were plans in the works to launch 10 new shades for darker skin tones. Tarte claimed that this had already been planned and was not in response to any backlash.

Whether it was an attempt to appease their customers or not, this measure did not work, and many people became further incensed at Tarte’s hasty explanation that it would take time to get the full range perfected.

“I feel like there are much more inclusive brands out there,” Ethan Blattcave, senior, said. “Fenty by Rihanna is a great example. At school we are exposed to a lot of cultures. The real world is represented here really well, and I think that’s a wonderful thing.”

On their Instagram story, Tarte responded to the controversy stating, “The final shade range that we launched was definitely not a full representation of all of you. . . We wanted to get the product out as fast as possible, and we made the decision to move forward before all the shades were ready to go. We know there is no excuse & we take full responsibility for launching this way.”

Tarte is just one example of a huge problem in the makeup industry. Too often, darker skinned people are treated as an afterthought, with a few darker shade ranges tacked onto the end of an otherwise extremely pale shade range. People of color come in a huge variety of skin tones and can not be expected to find a good shade match if they only have three or four options. Segregation was outlawed in 1964. It should have no place in 2018, even in makeup.